Monthly Archives: November 2013

Panty-Dropper Cocktail: Blueberry Divine at Catalyst Bar

Catalyst Bar at The Quad serves up some tasty social lubricants, and we recently discovered a new favorite, the Blueberry Divine cocktail.

Blueberry cocktail

You’ll want to order these by the dozen.

The Blueberry Divine has muddled blueberries with Stoli Blueberi vodka, Chambord black raspberry liqueur, simple syrup and fresh lemon juice. It’s sweet, with just the right amount of kick to get your party started.

Catalyst Bar recently revamped its cocktail menu, thanks to The Quad’s head bartender, Tom Alley. He’s the one that made our Blueberry Divine and he nailed it.

Las Vegas bartender

Tom’s flair is as pretty as his eyes, ladies.

Because you’ve taken the trouble to read this far, here’s a bonus panty-dropper, the Q-Cumber Fizz.

Cucumber cocktail

We’re just relieved this cocktail isn’t “infused” with anything. Infusing is lame.

This refreshing diversion has muddled cucumber, pear vodka, St. Germain liqueur, lemon juice and simply syrup, and it’s topped with lemonade or soda water (the fizz part). St. Germain is made from elderberry flowers, by the way, which is something you should definitely mention to your companion to facilitate the panty-dropping process.

Catalyst Bar at The Quad

It’s easy to find Catalyst Bar at The Quad. Just look for the flair.

Catalyst Bar at The Quad is well worth a visit. Dudes, by the way, are likely to enjoy these cocktails, too. If you’re not comfortable with the fancy presentation, just ask to have them served in a beer stein or something. Weirdo.

Las Vegas Ferris Wheel Update: Make That Three Cabins Left

On the morning of Nov. 27, 2013, we reported the High Roller Ferris wheel had five more passenger pods left to be put into place. However, when we returned later in the day, two of the remaining five had been installed, leaving three to go before all 28 modules take their place around the wheel’s rim.

Las Vegas observation wheel

One space on top, two hidden inside the loading platform.

Installation of the passenger cabins will pause for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the three remaining High Roller cabins will go up Monday, Dec. 2 and Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.

High Roller wheel

Each of the passenger pods weighs 44,000 pounds. More after Thanksgiving, of course.

As the process of installing the passenger cabins nears completion, the whole High Roller site, including landscaping (see below) is being readied for the launch of The Strip’s newest international attraction, the world’s tallest observation wheel.

High Roller wheel

The High Roller prepares for its debut in 2014.

Here’s some passenger cabin trivia: The pod windows are doubly-curved and made from four sheets of laminated glass with PVB interlayers and an air-filled cavity. Each of the sheets of glass are .15748 inches thick, give or take a hundred thousandths.

High Roller Ferris wheel

Earlier in the day, massive mounts await their balls.

The High Roller wheel will move one foot per second, and the entire ride will take about 30 minutes.

Make sure to check out our full archive of photos and news about the High Roller Las Vegas Ferris wheel.

Final Five Passenger Pods Arrive at High Roller Las Vegas Ferris Wheel Site

Exciting times on the Las Vegas Strip! The final five passenger cabins have arrived at the High Roller obsersation wheel site.

These last five “pods” are likely to be installed within a week or so!

High Roller passenger cabins

Amazing. The last batch of High Roller passenger pods have arrived!

Ultimately, there will be 28 cabins around the rim of the world’s tallest observation wheel, each with a capacity of 40 riders.

High Roller Ferris wheel

We’re tingling with anticipation. There’s probably a salve for that.

The High Roller Ferris wheel is a wonder of engineering! As the pods move around the wheel’s rim, they’ll “float” so that the floor of the cabin remains parallel to the ground.

At the moment, though, there’s no power to the cabins, so they’re in “gravity mode,” leaving them slightly askew as they move around the wheel (see below). Once the cabins have power, each pod will have a primary and secondary stabilization system to keep the cabins level as they rotate.

High Roller cabin

We’re inclined to think they won’t be like this for long.

The High Roller observation wheel is expected to open in the spring of 2014, but we say it’s ahead of schedule, even with the extensive safety testing ahead.

High Roller Ferris wheel

We’re giddy, and we don’t care who knows it.

The much-anticipated High Roller wheel is officially in the home stretch!

High Roller at The Linq

It’s like the Las Vegas Strip is getting a pearl necklace!

Check out our massive and borderline obsessive archive of High Roller Las Vegas Ferris wheel photos and updates.

Big Changes Coming to Tropicana Las Vegas, Shoppingwise

It seems like only yesterday (December 2011) the Tropicana Las Vegas was announcing the completion of a $180 million renovation, a revamp that included new rooms, a remodeled casino, additional convention space and a fancy new pool complex.

Now, the Tropicana, which opened in 1957, has announced another massive expansion. The hotel will invest $100 million in The Shops at Tropicana, three levels and 311,000-square-feet of shopping, dining and, yes, even more shopping.

Tropicana hotel

We’ve never seen a Las Vegas hotel facelift we didn’t like. Other than The Quad’s, of course.

Note: The new project is actually called “The Shops at The New Tropicana Las Vegas,” but we steadfastly refuse to call it the “new Tropicana,” because of the whole “opened in 1957” thing. We’re sticklers like that.

The classic Tropicana is going to have a whole new look by the time The Shops at Tropicana are done.

Construction of the Tropicana is expected to begin in 2014, with The Shops at Tropicana opening by the end of 2015.

The new shopping complex will have about 30 stores and a South Beach architectural theme. We think that’s in Florida somewhere.

Shops at Tropicana

Because you can never have too many pharmacies.

You can see a lot more details about the project on the site of a retail-leasing firm called RKF.

Here’s a cool little break-down of the various levels of the new Tropicana shopping complex.

The Shops at Tropicana

This blog is not responsible for any eye strain caused by trying to read that tiny print. Bottom line: A lot of retail, some dining and a little outdoor terrace.

The Shops at Tropicana joins a long, long list of upcoming retail projects on the Las Vegas Strip.

The “Sirens of TI” show recently closed to make way for a shopping mall, Caesars Entertainment is building The Linq retail and dining district between Flamingo and The Quad, and MGM Resorts will open The Park, a shopping promenade in front of Monte Carlo and New York-New York.

Oh, and there are even plans for an upscale shopping mall at Sin City’s McCarran Airport. Your eye-rolling is duly noted.

As we’ve suggested before, maybe it’s time to stop calling it “The Strip,” and maybe it should be called “The Strip Mall.” Then again, it’s new, and we love us some Las Vegas newness.

Update: Since the announcement of this retail expansion at Tropicana, the hotel has been sold to Penn National Gaming. That means all expansion plans are on hold, although the new ownership has expressed the possibility it may still happen.

Why Craps Players Love Downtown’s Fremont Casino

Craps is one of the most exciting games in any Las Vegas casino, and craps devotees have a special place in their heart for the Fremont Hotel & Casino, downtown.

That’s because the Fremont Casino has the only live craps games in Las Vegas that keep a running count of your dice rolls on a digital display. (We say live craps games for a reason.)

A woman named Patricia Demauro once rolled 154 times at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City. She rolled a record-setting four hours and 18 minutes.

A woman named Patricia Demauro once rolled 154 times at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City. She rolled a record-setting four hours and 18 minutes.

Read more about the longest craps roll in history.

This counter makes it easy to know how your roll is going, although a growing or diminishing number of chips is also a good way to keep track. Ahem.

The Fremont gives back some love to its craps players, too. The casino has a Sharpshooter Club for players who reach 25 rolls or more.

Craps is great because you don't have to be a great shooter yourself. You just have to be there with someone else who is.

Craps is great because you don’t have to be a great shooter yourself. You just have to be at the table with someone who is.

Players who qualify for the Sharpshooter Club at Fremont Casino get their photo framed and placed on the wall of the casino and win prizes like loyalty club points, merchandise and other goodies.

We love the craps roll counters at Fremont Casino, and while we haven’t made it into the Sharpshooter Club yet, we hope to change that soon.

Winter in Venice at The Venetian Will Kick Your Humbug Squarely in the Happies

A funny thing happened on the way to The Venetian. We accidentally felt some holiday spirit. Who knew?

The Venetian is doing the holidays up right with its Winter in Venice attraction, somehow managing to bypass the Las Vegas cheese and giving The Strip a genuinely enjoyable infusion of jolly.

Winter in Venice Las Vegas

We love being pleasantly surprised. Vegas spectacle for the win.

Winter in Venice runs through Jan. 5, 2014, and includes a skating rink (suspended over water, no less), roaming costumed characters, holiday-themed onstage entertainment and one stunning, huge-ass Christmas tree.

Winter in Venice The Venetian

Winner of our “Best Christmas Tree in Las Vegas” award, were that something that existed.

The Christmas tree is 65 feet tall, and is covered with color-shifting orbs. If you can look at it without feeling a surge of holiday spirit, your heart may be three sizes too small.

Adding to the winter wonderland feel, the front of The Venetian is engulfed in a flurry of giant, projected snowflakes, some up to six feet wide.

Here’s a snappy little video promoting the whole extravaganza.

The skating rink at The Venetian is interesting in that it’s not made of ice. Guests are skating on recycled polymer that doesn’t require electricity or refrigeration.

The rink is open 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. each day.

Skating rink Las Vegas

Polymer skating is just like ice skating, but without the frostbite.

As we said, there’s free entertainment on an outdoor stage throughout each evening. During our visit, there were three blondes in mini-skirts playing holiday music on their violins. We approve.

Winter in Venice shows

Just don’t call them fiddles.

This is the third annual Winter in Venice at The Venetian, and judging by the crowds, we assume it’ll be back.

We even liked the stilt-walking spidery things.

Winter in Venice Las Vegas

We don’t have to understand something to enjoy it.

Make sure to check out our list of Five Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas During the Holidays.

At its outdoor Grand Canal, The Venetian has managed to create a festive vibe for the whole family for the holidays. Kudos to The Venetian for skipping the schmaltz and bringing a heartwarming holiday attraction to the Las Vegas Strip.

Winter in Venice

Cue the Christmas song from that Charlie Brown special. You know the one.

Check out more photos of the wintertime whimsy in our exclusive gallery.